Cynthia L. Eppley 12/16/2020
During holidays, our thoughts and our hearts often turn toward home.
Simon and Garfunkel
“Homeward bound, I wish I was homeward bound, Home where my thought’s escaping, Home where my music’s playing Home where my love lies waiting silently for me.”
Wizard of Oz
“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…..”
“There’s no Place Like Home for the Holidays”
You can’t get through Christmas without hearing this song. If you’re listening to any Christmas station, you are going to hear it.
“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam If you want to be happy in a million ways For the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home.”
And it pulls at our heart strings, doesn’t it? And what is home? And where is home?
“I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”
“The sun is shining, the grass is green The orange and palm trees sway I’ve never seen such a day in Beverly Hills, L.A. But it’s December the 24th and I am longing to be up North:
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas Just like the ones I used to know Where the tree-tops glisten and children listen To hear sleigh bells in the snow.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas With every Christmas card I write. May your days be merry and bright And may all your Christmases be white.” (Irving Berlin)
This poignant song of Christmas is a favorite, and brings on waves of nostalgia. But there is more to the background. Look at the history of the song:
“There are layers of reasons that give this seemingly simple song such enduring depth. On the outer layer, Berlin recalled the homesickness he felt for his wife and daughters in 1937 when they were in their home in New York celebrating Christmas and he was working in Los Angeles.
Certainly, Christmas in Los Angeles was what inspired the original opening stanza that hardly anyone sings anymore.
Timing is one of the elements that propelled this song to stardom. Bing Crosby first sang it on the radio on Christmas Day in 1941, just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7.
The following Christmas, the song resonated even more powerfully among young Americans who found themselves overseas, missing their families, and among their families, who were missing them. It continues to evoke longing that echoes for anyone who dreams of a time before the loss of someone dear.”
Richness of the Past
World War 2 was fought Sept 1, 1939-Sept 2, 1945. These pivotal years were also pivotal in my family. My mother, Mary Lee Wright, left her home in Checotah, Oklahoma on Christmas night, 1944 to take a long train to New Jersey. There she married my father Joseph G. Lippincott, Sr. on Jan 2, 1945. We heard the story often, how my Grandfather took my mother to the train. Grannie Wright (as we called her) stayed home. We can imagine how hard it was to see their daughter leave. And remember, in those days we seldom called home: it was too expensive. Air flight was rare. Trains took a minimum of 2 days. The family story stirs up separation and loss, but also joy and love and warm welcome and fresh new beginnings.
Richness of The Present
It comes as no surprise that the scene of poignant goodbyes is still with us. When my husband Bob and I were dating, I spent my first Christmas away from home with his family in Western PA.
Yes, it was a white Christmas, but I remember my heart catching in my throat as I called home to NJ to wish them all a Merry Christmas.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
And this year, in 2020, there have been so many separations and goodbyes.
Home for the Holidays
A friend recently gave me a pillow that states:
“Home: A place where you always feel welcome and loved. An environment of comfort, security and happiness. A place of feeling or belonging.”
Our Eternal Home
Home may change. And yes, this year will be different. Perhaps there will be fewer parties and large dinner gatherings. But in so doing, perhaps the deconstruction of Christmas as we have known it, will reveal a treasured kernel of truth. In the changes of 2020, what remains permanent and unchanging?
“O God, Our help in ages past Our hope in years to come. Our shelter from the stormy blast, and Our Eternal Home.”
He is Our Eternal Home
Jesus Himself knew what leaving His Father and coming to Earth meant.
“Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown, When Thou camest to earth for me; But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room For Thy holy nativity. O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, There is room in my heart for Thee.”
We can Come Home Again
In this fractured year, where our hopes and dreams of all the years may not be met?They are met in Jesus. The concept of “home” is so much richer and deeper than Christmas time. He is our eternal home. Let us prepare Him room.